Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Sgt. Damien T. Ficek

26, of Pullman, Washington.
Ficek died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small arms fire. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, Spokane, Washington. Died on December 30, 2004.

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"I never knew Damien, but I remember him. I'm the pilot of the C-130 that carried your son/brother/husband/friend Damien's remains from Baghdad. Because I signed for his remains that day, I know his name, and over a decade later, I still remember it. On each Memorial Day since, I have thought of him, and you. To me, the sad honor of carrying Damien put a face on the terrible cost of war. And as the father of a young man still serving his country, I can imagine your pain at his loss. Please take solace in the knowledge that Damien, and the sacrifices he made, are remembered, even by people who did not have the privilege of knowing him."
Joel Vergun, LtCol, USAF (ret.) of Ypsilanti, MI

"I remember SGT/CDT Ficek from my time at WSU ROTC. It was a shame when I found out that they wouldn't commission him due to a medical technicality. He held more leadership talent on his sleeve than most of us possessed as a whole. He always listened to others and always spoke decisively. He was a great example to us all. It was sobering to say the least when I heard of his ultimate sacrifice. I too served in the 1/161 and had I not pursued a different career path, I too might have been out on patrol that day with him. I continue to wear the flag for my country and will wear it proudly to honor him. Never forgotten. Rest well my friend, your journey is complete."
CPT Arnold of OPSEC, USA

"Damien and I were great friends in the Athletic Training program at WSU, in fact I would even call him one if my best friends. I think about him often but especially on Memorial Day. I will always miss our times together in and out of class. I am thrilled to see a website such as this where his memory can live on forever. Kyla, I don't know if you remember me or my wife (Dan & Mindy and I'm from Elma). We would love to see you again one day. We are in the Edmonds WA area"
Dan Newell of Edmonds WA

"Damien influenced everyone around him for the better. I knew him from high school and still remember his forthrightness, integrity, kindness, and dedication. I'm sad we lost him."
Matt Brock of Seattle, WA

"To the family of:Damien T.Ficek
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

"July 15, 2011 this NC woman viewed the beautiful coastline of Cannon Beach, OR. I was deeply moved by the memorial plaque baring his name and took a picture. I wanted to remember the saying, and see if I could find out how Damien T. Ficek died. I was thinking a surfing accident took him and that's why the memorial on the coast. I now know Damien lost his life for the sake of freedom. Thank you, Damien, for giving the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you to his family for sharing a little piece of your husband, your son, your brother with the rest of us sojourners. Your enduring love of Damien pierced my soul and I will not forget. "I dropped a tear in the ocean. When it's found, is when I'll stop loving you.""
Marsha H. of Robbinsville, NC USA

"While on vacation in September, saw the memorial near the ocean, just googled and found out who he was, it was a beautiful memorial. So sorry for your loss"
Sherry of Sesser Illinois

"beautiful message for everyone to remember someone they loved. thanks and my gratitude for your fallen hero."
angela rupprecht of evansville ind

"Damien may be gone, but he surely is not forgotten. He was the best of the best. A person with a wonderful soul. God has taken you early, but you will always be in my heart. I love you and miss you my dear friend."
Dena (Derone) Matrisciano of Lake Havasu, Arizona,

"Damien,
I am so very sorry that i have not yet spoke about the travesty that happened to you,

Your teachings and mentorship while we were in Iraq helped me be the leader I am today.

America's Army and the World lost an outstanding Leader and Mentor !!!

You are and will forever be missed"
SSG Hoadley, Jason S of Spokane, Wa

"Damien, my brother, I miss you deeply. I know your men are eating and sleeping first in that great patrol base in the sky. And I know you'll have your coin on you when I see you again. RLTW"
Phil of Milwaukee, WI

"I represent a grass roots ministry called prayer shawls for fallen soldier's. Would anyone in Damien Ficek's family like a prayer shawl in honor of Damien. I would be happy to mail one. Please contact me at happyday22@verizon.net. Thank you"
Dottie Stevens of Smithfield, Virginia

"December 6, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Damien T. Ficek:
Damien gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Damien, still not a day goes by that I don't think of you and weep. There also is not a day that goes by that I don't laugh at times we had. One day God will bring us together again, until then I will continue to miss you brother."
Your best friend of Ft. Rucker

"I knew Sgt Ficek, I served with him in Cco 1-161In, he was a good man and a fine soldier. His loss was hard for us all, as he was a well liked person. Humble, noble, brave, do not even begin to describe him. We will never forget you......"
Ferg of Moses lake, WA

"Damien, it's been a while since I've seen you. I hope you're doing well. You are one of the best Damien; one of the most professional NCOs, loving husbands, and best Rangers that I have known. I carry your example with me every day.

Rangers Lead The Way!!"
Wade Aubin of Lago Vista, TX

"I miss you."
Capt McBride USMC of Jacksonville Nc

"I just stood in a vigil in Eureka California, on the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the war, and each one of us was given a fallen soldier's name, I received Damien's name. After reading the different articles on Damien, I am so saddened that such a loved man died before his time. I will continue to send loving thoughts to Damien's wife Kyle and his family and friends. Peace be with you."
Kenzie of Arcata, California

"I am sorry to hear about Ficeks death, I also served with him in 2nd Plattoon Bco. 2nd Ranger Batt. I remember him being real tough for such a little guy. I think he was on the Crocodie Hunter TV show during his time in Ranger school. I always thought of him when I would watch that show. My condolences to his family.
Rangers Lead The Way!"
Daniel Gerberg of British Columbia, Canada

"I was Damien's commanding Officer in Iraq and held him in my arms when he was slipping away on the side of a street in Baghdad. Damien was a soldier's soldier and I was both honored and humbled by the fact I had the chance to lead him in combat. He loved being a soldier and believed in what we were trying to accomplish. I think of him everyday. May God grant us the strength to carry one and never forget our loved ones - he shall not be forgotten."
CPT Aaron L. Bert of Shoreline, WA

"I knew Damien throughout grade school at Greenway, Jr. High at Whitford and High School at Beaverton. It is so hard to imagine that he is gone. We just had our 10th year High school reunion, and Damien is someone I missed seeing. Kyla, your husband was a prince among men. He always had a kind word or smile and was a friend to everyone. In all the years I knew him, I never heard an unkind word spoken. Damien was one of a kind. Please know that he is still thought of and missed.
Best Wishes."
Stephanie Wilson of Beaverton, Oregon

"I am saddened at recently Learning about the loss of one of my fellow Ranger buddies. I served with Damien during his tenure in 2nd platoon Bco 2/75. His excellent leadership and love of country inspired many of us who served with him. "I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends," He will be greatly missed."
Jeff Barrington of Tacoma, WA

"Thank you all for your very kind words of sympathy and remembrance. Damien was a wonderful man and continues to live in the hearts of those who loved him. I am so appreciative to find messages from those who knew him as your stories bring me great comfort and help those that didn't know him to better understand what an amazing man he was. I am also thankful for the messages from those who didn't know him but have taken the time to acknowledge his sacrifice. Your words and prayers truly do make a difference. Thank you for ensuring that our fallen soldiers are not forgotten."
Kyla Ficek of WA state

"I am also possibly related to this hero.
It makes me proud to have the last name Ficek.He sounded very nice and I'll be praying(-:"
Miss.Ficek of New Hampshire

"My last name is Ficek and im honored to possibly be related to a soldier who gave his life to better make free freedom."
Another Ficek of Illinois

"I knew Damien at WSU in ROTC. So many lessons we cadets learned from this dedicated Soldier. He lived the Ranger creed daily. You are never forgotten Damien. Rangers Lead the Way!"
1LT Joshua Niles of Fort Stewart, GA

"I knew Damien in high school. He was a good person - and I was deeply affected when I learned of his death on the news. May he rest well and his family find solace."
Jeff Whiteside of Spokane, WA

"To family of SGT Ficek,
Your Son, taught me so much. I met him in ROTC. The lessons that he taught me, saved my team. He will be truly missed."
LT Willingham

"Damien was a great man! He made you smile even when you physically could not. The Lord bless his family."
Sara Kerry of San Clemente, CA

"To the family of SGT Ficek -
During Damien's memorial service in Baghdad, I was moved to see members of the Iraqi National Guard squad he trained brought to tears at losing a friend and fellow soldier. It speaks volumes about the impact he had not only on his own unit, but on the members of Iraq's security forces as well. Know that he is missed around the world and thought of often."
SGT Tim Waters of Seattle

"Sergeant Ficek, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Damien I will miss you so much. This world is a safer place because of you. I am so proud of your accomplishments. You were a great soldier."
Jessica Larson of Beaverton, OR

"Damien Ficek was a great Sergeant, but he was also a family man. He cared so much for his family and friends, especially his wife, Kyla. Damien had an influence on everyone he met, his smile could make your day. My prayers go to Kyla; parents Donna and Danny, Dean and Suzanne, and his two brothers, Dustin and John. Damien is thought about often. I miss him so much. Damien will always be in our hearts. I love you Damien T. Ficek."
Amy Tuttle of Beaverton, Oregon

"Damien was the dearest of friends. I miss him everyday. He was the greatest caliber of person I know. A part of me died with him."
1stLt Matthew McBride of Somewhere in IRAQ

"I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of SGT Damien T. Ficek. Damien was one of my team leaders when I was in 2/75th Ranger Regiment. Damien was not only an outstanding team leader, but a good friend who I could count on and would look out for me both as a soldier and as a friend.
CPT Nathaniel B. Wilson"
Nathaniel B. Wilson of FT Bragg, NC

"To Damien's family: the WA state chapter of the Home of the Brave Quilt Project extends its sincere condonlences on the loss of this wonderful young man. Our group would like to make Damien's family a quilt honoring him. Nothing is asked of you at all, other than you let us make this quilt. We are trying to make a quilt for the family of each WA state soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. You can learn more about this project at http://www.marilynquilts.com/"
Barb Shillinger of Aberdeen, WA

"your son was real hero,may god bless you and your family. My son is also in Iraq,I pray for all of them God Bless You."
Diane of Spokane Wa.

"To Damien's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, Texas
gcaldas48@aol.com"

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Damien, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Dear Ficek Family, We, too, share the Ficek name. We want to offer our condolences and pray for your consolation at this time of loss. God Bless you all and thank you for your sacrifice."
Judy Ficek of Woodburn, Oregon 97071

"To Damien's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Thank you Sgt. Ficek for defending the freedoms we all cherish. Your brave action will be remembered each day we raise our flag in the front yard. May God grant your loved ones comfort at this time. We mourn with them and all of the families who have lost loved ones in this war. From a very grateful American family."
The Shaw family of Pasadena, Maryland

"Thank you Damien Ficek, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Damien Ficek:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Damien for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Damien Ficek:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Damien, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on